Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spinning wise... a new wheel...

Neither flyer, great, walking, castle, nor saxon! An Indian Charkha it is. I have wanted one for quite some time and I recently found a model--made in India--with a reasonable price tag. It arrived yesterday.

Charkhas are for spinning cotton. You may recall some time back I was showing some cotton I had spun on a tahkli--a supported spindle made specifically for cotton. Working the tahkli is challenging. In fact, I made it my Tour de Fleece challenge a few years ago. Well! The charkha changes the game! As seen in the picture above, the drive wheel on the right drives an intermediate wheel near the center, which in turn drives the spindle. The combined effect of these wheels makes the ratio of rotation 1:125 from the large wheel to the spindle. That's fast, and it's just what cotton needs: lots of spin. Cotton needs all this spin because it's fibers are so short. Without enough spin, it simply falls apart.

Charkhas were developed in India, and the design had input even from Ghandi who was a major promoter of household spinning in his country.

My model is called a "book" charkha because all the components have their own little storage compartment inside the box, and the box closes up to about the size of a book. How neat!

It also has it's own built-in skein winder. Some wonderful ingenuity went into this design.

I am looking--somewhat down the line--to spin enough cotton to weave enough material to make a rustic over shirt. I think that would be absolutely fantastic and really cool.


  1. Pretty! I eagerly await that FO.

    1. Hi Stirling! Hope all is going well with you! :)

  2. When I first got my charkha, I spent 30 minutes each morning...just like Ghandi...I got pretty good at it. I haven't had it out for a while, this might get me inspired to do it.

    1. Deanna, I love the idea of 30 minutes each morning. Maybe after my big move I'll be able to fit it in.

      If there's anything further I can say to inspire you to take it out again, let me know. Go for it!! :)


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